Religion Posts

  • My new Twitter handle is now live - check me out at @jackiewgibson!

  • CNN has posted a history of bias against Sikhs - more reason for people to learn about religions before they attack anyone:...

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Hackers group Anonymous takes down Vatican website:

  • WGN-TV calls doomsday prophecies "an illusion":

  • RT @graceishuman: Really,? Asking people JUST LEAVING the service how they felt about it? Tacky, tacky, inappropriate

  • Whitney Houston's funeral service really took the world to church. Love Pastor Winans' honesty, very moving.

  • #teacher ? Here are appropriate responses to situations with your Jehovah's Witness student:

  • #Teachers: Want to know why your Jehovah's Witness student won't say the pledge and how to respond?

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The following series of winter religious holidays was written by Religion Transcends writer Jackie Walker for the Winter 2009 issue of Relate magazine. Relate’s mission is to inspire teen girls to pursue their dreams with confidence and to teach them to be an example for others in their speech, life, love, faith and purity. Religion overviews may have Christian overtones to make the content relatable for the Christian teen audience.

If you’re putting the finishing touches on a winter wonderland of figgy pudding, jingling bells, and neatly wrapped presents, you’re in good company. Each year, about 93% of Americans celebrate Christmas. That’s more than 9 out of every 10 people in the United States!

Of course, Christmas comes in a variety of packages: Santa and his sleigh, Jesus and his manger, the Grinch and his itty-bitty heart. So just what is the real Christmas story? And what are some of the holy nights that the other 7% of Americans are celebrating this winter?

Set aside those gingerbread cookies and read this holiday list (we checked it twice!).


Holiday: Hanukkah

Date: December 12-19

Main Players: The Jewish Temple in Jerusalem

The Story: Compared to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Hanukkah is a less important holiday. But some Jewish families do celebrate it. As history tells, the Jews had a holy temple in Jerusalem. The Greek army seized the temple in 168 BC and destroyed many items like the menorah, a golden candle holder. In 165 BC, after the Jews had cleaned up the temple, they held a dedication ceremony to give some honor back to the building. They looked for oil to light the menorah but found only enough for one day. By some miracle, the oil lasted for eight whole days! The temple was later destroyed in 70 AD; all that remains are fragments like the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. But Jews today remember the night they took the temple back and witnessed the miracle of the oil.

Traditions: Some Jews give presents on Hanukkah, but for the most part Hanukkah involves two traditions:

  • Jews light a menorah in their homes. It has 9 candles, one for each night the menorah stayed lit and one candle to light the others. They light one candle each night for eight nights.
  • Kids play games like spinning the dreidel. This is a top with four sides that say “Nes, Gimel, Hay, and Shin” which together mean “a great miracle happened there.”

Other installments in this series:
-Buddhism: Bodhi Day

-Christianity: Christmas

-Islam: Ashura

-Hinduism: Vasant Panchami

Other holidays this winter:
-Islam: Hijra (December 18)
-Wicca: Winter Solstice (December 21)
-Shinto: Gantan-sai (January 1)
-Baha’i: World Religion Day (January 17)
-Buddhism/Confucianism: Chinese New Year (February 14)

Created by Religion Transcends, 2009

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